Rolling out fine tippet

Upstate08

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I'm wondering if there are any tips/tricks for getting fine tippet (6x, 7x) to lay out, especially at close range? I've been gradually reducing tippet size and am pretty good with down to 4/5x, but the other night I tied on about 12" of 6x and had trouble getting it to land on the water in anything but a heap. I found it was better out past 20', but anything closer was a struggle. I have a feeling it has to do with the physics behind the transfer of energy into line that fine, but I'm not sure how to fix it... I was using a 764 Superfine glass rod with 4wt SA Mastery Trout wf line. Any insights would be greatly appreciated, cheers!
 

johan851

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What type and size of fly were you using? Light tippet may not transfer enough energy to a large, wind resistant dry to turn it over completely.
 

Upstate08

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I had on a #16 Adams. I didn’t think that’d be too big for finer tippet.
 
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Ard

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Just like a medium to long range cast with a light tippet the turn over is all in the amount of speed / energy put into the forward stroke and the stop. Short casts involve less vinyl coated line out the tip so the actual forward cast and stop require more speed and energy in order to send a unfurling loop all the way to the fly. You can interpret 'stop' as stopping point and the abruptness of the stop. For a short cast with long light leader you may find that the stop will need to be at a higher point.

I seldom try offering advice on these issues because it would require a really well made video to demonstrate what I'm trying to say.

We all develop our own fixes for problems I think. For instance I can stop a forward cast and then quickly draw the rod tip backward to assist in turning over the leader and fly. Something like that takes a lot of time fishing to discover and may be difficult for someone to visualize but it works for me. I can do what I describe with a Spey cast as well as a single hand cast, it's just a matter of trying things until you find what works.
 

MichaelCPA

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On the contrary, this is success in George Harvey's eye, no?

Make sure your previous tapers roll out well, and if the finest last section lands in a pile or coils you have perfect dead drift. Lots of slack.
 

trev

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johan851 said; "What does the rest of the leader look like? "
You only have 12" of 6X , 12" doesn't roll out and can't really make much of a pile. What I suspect is happening is you have tied this to the end of what was already a longish tippet of 5X making the whole "soft" section too long for it's stiffness and the collapse is in the 4X or 5X sections.
Throughout the "taper" section of a leader the pieces can be very short, some recipes call for 3"-6" sections of each diameter, I make mine with longer sections but depending on the material and diameter probably not over ~12" in the section carrying the tippet which should probably be 22-24" (or 30" if you want a pile for drift purposes), if the leader collapses my solution is often to cut the 4X-5X sections shorter to effectively make the leader stiffer, or make the 3X-4X shorter.
 

Upstate08

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We all develop our own fixes for problems I think. For instance I can stop a forward cast and then quickly draw the rod tip backward to assist in turning over the leader and fly. Something like that takes a lot of time fishing to discover and may be difficult for someone to visualize but it works for me. I can do what I describe with a Spey cast as well as a single hand cast, it's just a matter of trying things until you find what works.
Some great advice here Ard, much appreciated. I can perfectly picture what you describe. I too often pull the rod back at the end of a cast to take up some of the slack. Haven’t perfected that technique yet, still working on it ;) I think you’re right in that it’s mostly a matter of putting in more time on the water, trying stuff out. I’ll experiment with different stopping points in the stroke and see how it goes. Cheers!
 
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Upstate08

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johan851 said; "What does the rest of the leader look like? "
You only have 12" of 6X , 12" doesn't roll out and can't really make much of a pile. What I suspect is happening is you have tied this to the end of what was already a longish tippet of 5X making the whole "soft" section too long for it's stiffness and the collapse is in the 4X or 5X sections.
Throughout the "taper" section of a leader the pieces can be very short, some recipes call for 3"-6" sections of each diameter, I make mine with longer sections but depending on the material and diameter probably not over ~12" in the section carrying the tippet which should probably be 22-24" (or 30" if you want a pile for drift purposes), if the leader collapses my solution is often to cut the 4X-5X sections shorter to effectively make the leader stiffer, or make the 3X-4X shorter.
I think you nailed it Trev! Indeed my 6x tippet was tied to the end of a 5x leader, and there were definitely more than 12” of line in those beautiful piles I was throwing, indicating the collapse wasn’t just in the 6x section. I was experimenting in the yard today with a stiffer leader, made with shorter sections of 2x and 4x before tacking on the finer end sections. It made all the difference and I found myself having much more control of the line, throwing piles when I wanted them (using a higher stopping point as Ard mentioned) and laying the entire leader out flat when I wanted.

All-in-all, I feel like I’m on the right path and truly appreciate the feedback. Cheers, tight lines!
 

LePetomane

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Years ago I had this discussion with a renowned bamboo rodmaker. We came up with a few thoughts. First, you cannot use too large of a fly. The cross sectional area of a larger fly will offer too much resistance to the tippet turning over. Second, line speed is important to turning over fine tippets.
 

johanDH

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I am by no means a very practised caster. I tought myself. So others might rightfully add that my suggestion is a bad idea, but what works for me is giving the line a slight pull just as the fly is about to hit the water. This stretches the leader so it is straight when it lands. So basically pull on it like you do when you apply the first haul of a double haul cast.
 

ifitswims

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It’s the cast not the leader or tippet. Yes you can get to long of a leader and tippet combo and it makes it more difficult to lay it out fully but the cast can correct this if the leader setup is remotely correct.

Puddeling is almost always the result of timing in the casting stroke and how you finish. Conditions demand what size tippet and you need the casting stroke to perform in order to meet the requirements of the fish, regardless of tippet size.

In golf it is hard to work on your shots if you are not making solid contact every time you swing at the ball, once your confident you can hit the ball now you can work on how to correct slice, hook...and so on.
 

silver creek

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I had on a #16 Adams. Is didn’t think that’d be too big for finer tippet.
There is a formula for the size tippet to use for the size fly. There are two ratios. Divide by 4 for a newbie (rule of 4) and divide the fly size by 3 (rule of 3) resulting in a thinner tipper for a more experienced fly caster. So for a size 16 fly divided by 3 = 5 X tippet as the thinnest you should probably use.

6X and 7X are too thin for you to lay out the tippet.


"But in trout fishing, the tippet is the thinnest, most vulnerable part of the system, and you adjust your tippet according to the size of fly that you want to use. The guideline for sizing tippet to fly is the Rule of 4. I use a size 12 fly to demonstrate this rule. If you take a size 12 fly, and divide it by 4, you get 3, so for a size 12 fly, use a 3X tippet. If you choose a size 16 fly, then divide by 4, and get 4X tippet. This works for all sizes of flies and helps get the most accurate casting and turnover of the fly.

Some people use the Rule of 3. Using this rule, for a size 18 fly you would use 6X tippet. If you use the Rule of 3 you may be handicapping your casting and fly turnover, but you’ll have a lighter, thinner tippet for better slack-line presentations and dead-drifts."

Read my previous post at the bottom of the first page on this thread:

 
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bigspencer

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To begin with.....a finer tippet demands you decide what type of cast you want with what leader/tippet design..AND a more forceful end-phase of your rod-stroke! It's easy to slow down the Speed-Up-and-Stop rod stroke, especially with those short casts with little line out for momentum. A straight tippet, no matter WHAT diameter, will possess more possibility of dragging as the drift lengthens.....so getting a little rebound always helps. That's why completing that cast above the water and then getting that leader to drop helps. I think a little experimenting with tippet-LENGTH can solve issues....

**IME...I've had better leader-design success by chopping a pre-made back and adding one or two pre-tippet sections, even if only 6-8" each, for an easier obtained slack-tippet......BUT that's just for me...**(Remember to make the pre-tippet("penultimate"?) section slightly longer giving the material around that last knot more stretch).....practice and use whatever works for you!

I'm at the point in my eyesight life where just knotting 5x with 6x is the main challenge.....holy xxxxxx!
Question for all you guys....is anyone who's crazy enough to use 6x....jumped from 4x to 6x without much breaking off? Guess I've got to try it a few times, have always gone from 5x to 6x with terrific stretching security. Guess I've got to get cracking & perfect that alternative process for blood-knotting...🤪
 
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silver creek

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I have a feeling it has to do with the physics behind the transfer of energy ....... Any insights would be greatly appreciated
The physic laws that govern a fly cast is that a moving mass has both kinetic energy (MVV/2) and momentum (MV). Therefore a moving fly line has both KE and M.

Aerodynamic drag slows the fly line down which means both KE and M gradually get smaller. Therefore, if a fly line is to move at the same velocity or accelerate to a faster velocity, the fly line mass that is still moving must decrease at a rate that at least compensates for the loss of KE and M due to aerodynamic drag.

That is why fly line is tapered. This tapering compensates for the loss of KE and M during the cast. This tapering continues into the leader. The leader is a constant diameter and therefore it cannot maintain its velocity by losing mass and this is why the fly gradually slows down; and if the tippet is long enough, the tippet will no longer have the KE or M to extend itself and the fly and will drop to the water.
 
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Ard

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Some great advice here Ard, much appreciated. I can perfectly picture what you describe. I too often pull the rod back at the end of a cast to take up some of the slack. Haven’t perfected that technique yet, still working on it ;) I think you’re right in that it’s mostly a matter of putting in more time on the water, trying stuff out. I’ll experiment with different stopping points in the stroke and see how it goes. Cheers!
Thanks, I try :)

Once we understand all the physics and have came up with a proper leader design there remains the fact that this may well be a case of practice makes perfect. It has been a long time since I had to ponder who I might get a 7X tippet to unfurl perfectly so that a #18 Little Blue Quill would settle onto the water as well as one could hope but I do remember the learning process. Here where I live now and am about to kick off my 17th season I use much different rods and leaders than we are discussing in this thread. However, the issue of turning over casts is still present and basically it's all the same albeit turning over a 0X tippet with a pretty big tube fly attached. I'm doing exactly the same thing as always just with heavier gear.

Occasionally I go Grayling fishing and have to reacquaint myself with a small single hand rod and a tapered leader and it all comes back and pretty quickly too. It makes no difference whether you are casting a 9 foot 5 weight with a dry fly on a finely tipped leader or a 14 foot rod with a weighted leader tipped with a weighted tube fly there will come a day when things go wrong. When this happens it is then that we rely on those days of practice and learning what makes things work correctly. It can be a change in current speed or the presence of some obstruction, a tree either in front or behind you that is at the root of a casting / presentation problem. When things aren't working like they did last time you were out fly fishing you sometimes have to pause and ask yourself what is different today?

In my case it's almost always current speed or the obstruction that is subliminally affecting me and manifesting in what we commonly call bad casting. You step back and you think, you reflect on what you learned through the years and you make the corrections. One of the most frequent problems I faced as a small stream trout fisher was that when I actually saw a bunch of fish rising and could tell there was a beauty in the mix I would sometimes either overshoot the target or throw a back cast into a bush or tree to my rear............. Now this had nothing to do with tippet turn over but I offer it as an example of a subliminal distraction that affects your ability to do what you have trained yourself to do when fly casting for trout. As the years progressed into decades I learned to take that step back and think, to have a look to my rear and to lay a cast far to the side from the actual target which allowed me to gain a sense of needed distance or depth of field if that makes sense? Then you simply put the fly where it had to be and caught the fish without the need to wade backward and retrieve the fly from some bush ;) The worst was to overshoot and snag directly above or beside where that fish was sitting and feeding. That almost always resulted in no fish even if you choose to break the fly off in an effort to salvage the situation. In essence after you have figured out how to make things work for yourself when the day comes that you have difficulties you often have to ask yourself what is different today? What have I done different and how can I get back in control of things.

That all may have strayed a bit off topic although the words may form into thoughts you will recognize either from past experiences or they may come to you in the future like a distant memory. Writing things down is something I enjoy and to write them in a manner that you may easily understand is what I try to do.
 
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sweetandsalt

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You have a confluence, I suspect, of mismatched mass, poor energy transfer and line speed deficiency. First, one NEVER unfurls one's leader upon the water, one turns it over aerially then waifts it to the surface, unfurling upon the water is equivalent to shock waves to the trout prior to the fly even landing. Second, 6X is too fine a diameter for a #16 fly, 5X is right and 12" is too short for any dry fly tippet...I don't want to mess you up but my average dry fly leader, which is fully controllable, is 15' with 4.5 - 5' of tippet. Your leader/tippet should NEVER collapse into coils, that is symptomatic of either/or a bad cast and poorly designed leader. When one wants amplitudes (not coils please) of leader/tippet on the surface as a component of a drag free drift one dials them in with the tip of one's rod during the unfurling of the loop in the air prior to alighting upon the water. Control of all aspects of the cast, both live and slack line translates to control on the water where further mends are usually involved. To execute dry fly presentations at all distances, gravity defying loop formation is a prerequisite as good loops provide time and opportunity to perform line manipulation.

So, there are a lot of concurrent moving parts to effective dry fly presentation; practiced experimenting with ones cast and line control which comes from open minded experience, and eliminating performance obstacles by starting with a well matched and constructed rod-line-leader-tippet outfit optimized to technique and habitat.

A starting point I might encourage is to ascertain that you can cast your line and leader dead straight at the distances you intend to fish. Once you can straighten it out aerially and lay it down straight you have an indication you are able to start manipulating it to achieve delicate and controllable presentations. Keep adjusting your leader segment proportions until you achieve the best results for your purposes and be certain there are no slack inducing hinges robbing you of clean energy transference anywhere in you connection to the fly line down to your tippet.

Good luck, this skill development is worth the effort.
 

silver creek

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S&S is an experienced caster and fly fisher.

I suggest that beginners start out with 2 feet of tippet and if they can cast that well, go to 3 feet of tippet. When you can do that well, then try going down in tippet size by dividing the fly size by 3 instead of 4.
 

sweetandsalt

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Silver is accurate and I do not think you should do as I do but rather as I proposed, work on your system to achieve continuity of energy transfer and open mindedly experiment...that is the path to ultimately achieve confident control of line to leader to fly. I've been rigging lines and building my own leaders for over half a century and am still experimenting and learning.
 

bigspencer

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Ditto on the adding more momentum to your delivery, thus giving yourself that shock-rebound of slack leader = drag-free float.
I kind-of judge a "great" delivery of something like 6x into a sliding scale as to how it's working "in the looking-glass zone"...Realizing that that "Zone" is not always a fixed space. When initially dropped to the surface...leader can indeed be a piled heap, but after letting it drift further into a pocket...is a nicely placed slack tippet & fly. Lefty would often show it....how to get a fly under branches...against a bank...when a plain reach-cast would risk the chance of some drag, particularly when dealing with big browns when one cast might be all that you'll be given. So don't get caught in a single train of thought based on one type of cast...
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